County budgets & taxes in Kenya (Oxfam)

What do Kenyans think about how their taxes are being spent?

Africa’s Voices is growing a sustained partnership with Oxfam Kenya

following a series of successful interactive radio projects

Oxfam in Kenya is advocating for a more progressive, transparent, and accountable tax and expenditure regime – which will lead to a better mobilisation of tax revenue, improved public services, and an improved quality of life for poor, vulnerable, and marginalised populations in Kenya.

What we're doing

Since 2016, Africa’s Voices has been partnering with Oxfam in Kenya to amplify citizens’ views on taxes, and their priorities for the national budget. For the baseline and midline study, radio shows were broadcast in three counties (and three languages) – Nairobi (Swahili), Turkana (Turkana) and Wajir (Somali), and listeners participated via SMS. Follow up SMS questions gathered data on socio-demographics and opinions.

Insights & impact so far

  • Participants tended to agree with the payment of taxes for moral and civic reasons. People who are not satisfied with government service provision said they would be more likely to avoid paying taxes.
  • Across all of the counties, the priorities for the country and county budgets were roads, education, jobs for youth, and healthcare.
  • Compared to men, women were more concerned about health services and education, while men were more concerned about jobs and salaries.
  • The idea of unfairness is a common theme. Many participants perceive that wealthy people and those in government are exempt from or can easily avoid paying taxes.
  • Across all of the stations, there was a common perception of corruption by politicians and government officials undermines trust in the Kenyan government and the perception of its ability to competently manage taxpayers’ money.

Progressive mobilisation and management of domestic resources for quality delivery of public services in Kenya

Baseline research for Oxfam

What we appreciated the most is the nuances that AVF produced. Most studies provide disaggregated data on citizen opinions e.g. by age, gender but never go deep enough to understand the why. What are the underlying motivations? For us, those were critical because they helped us achieve a different perspective to the issue [taxation], to truly understand how people feel and have our programmes respond accordingly. AVF really brought citizen voices to the conversation and the findings were the basis of a lot of the ways we went ahead to develop the programme.

Wairu Kinyori-Gugu
Director - Programmes, Oxfam Kenya